Gloucester may have come away with a 22-19 win over London Irish at the Madejski Stadium on Sunday, but director of rugby Nigel Davies was not a happy man at the conclusion of the game.
As reported by Alex Spink of the Daily Mirror, Davies expressed dismay that rivals Leicester Tigers may have tempted fly-half Freddie Burns away from his club. Responding to rumours that Burns already has a deal in place with Leicester, he said:
There are laws and rules, and there is reality. I think we all understand what actually happens.
It is not just Freddie, it is across the board. If these things are going on they have to be stopped.
This game is a little like Moneyball. It is as important what we do off the field as what we do on it.
According to Rugby Union regulations, Premiership clubs are not permitted to approach out-of-contract players before the turn of the year. If rumours of Burns' move proves to be true, it isn't hard to understand Davies' frustration.
Coming off the bench, Burns kicked the penalty that ultimately won Gloucester the game.
The Gloucester Citizen is reporting Burns has already signed a three-year deal with the Tigers. Burns hasn't featured much of late for Gloucester, and he blames the uncertainty over his future for any decline in his on-field performance.
Burns is seen as a potential replacement for Toby Flood at Leicester, should the experienced England international make a move to France.
According to Ben Coles from Planet Rugby, Davies is already looking at potential replacements:
Fans don't seem to be happy about the situation either, sharing Davies' anger on this issue:
One player who isn't giving the former Welsh international any headaches is Jonny May, who scored his 11th try in 15 Premiership games. Davies took the time to praise the English international.
The key thing about the best internationals, as much as they have X factor, is that they don’t make many mistakes. That’s what Jonny is getting very good at.
Having coached international rugby I wouldn’t be afraid of selecting him.
With the new year quickly approaching, it will be interesting to see how this saga will end. But if reports are to be believed, it will end with Burns defending the colours of Leicester.
As of right now, there has been no official response from the Rugby Football Union.